How to Stay Secure on Kijiji
We know how exciting it is to post an item and wait for the responses. And we know how much fun it is to (finally!) find that one exact item you’ve been looking for. It rocks! We agree. But we do want you to know about a reality that affects all online marketplaces: the possibility of interacting with folks who may be more interested in your personal information or stealing from you than buying your great item or selling you one. Here are certain things that you should be mindful about when buying or selling goods online.
Buy and sell safely
By now, many of us have received emails, texts or phone calls from someone who claims to have a lot of money for us, if only we’ll provide our bank details and perhaps send a few dollars to “release the funds.” People trying to steal personal information this way have been around a long while – but so have we. And don’t forget, you can visit the various sections of our Kijiji Help Desk for advice at any time.
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If you’re selling an item
What to look out for
The best advice we can offer you is very simple: if the potential buyer is hard to reach (private number, email address with generic name and lots of numbers, grammatical errors in the reply, etc.) and he or she makes excuses as to why they cannot meet you in person to complete the transaction, these are tell-tale signs of fraud. If you come across this, we recommend you stop communicating with the individual and report them to Kijiji.
For example, if a potential buyer tells you they can’t meet you in person because they:
- prefer to arrange for a special “bank transfer”
- will pay you extra to take your ad down
- run their own shipping company
- claim to be working overseas or somewhere remote
- have a mom/dad/dog with the flu
- need your personal details to send you money, or any other excuse – that is your cue to report the person to Kijiji and move onto the next buyer.
Be particularly wary of possible text/sms scammers. Using a masked number that appears to be local, they often reply to your listing with a very short text, along with reason why it’s not possible for you to text them back (“I’m at work so email me”). The goal is to get you to communicate with them via channels that make it harder for them to be identified. Always be wary of people who make excuses, report fraud when you believe you’ve come across it, and use Kijiji’s in-app messaging feature to communicate whenever possible.
If you’re buying an item
What to look out for
In the rare occurrence that you receive a reply from a seller that is overly long and filled with grammatical errors and completely unnecessary information, this may be sign of a scammer. For example, these folks may reply to your query with details about their ill-health (“I’m selling my new iPhone because my ears are bandaged”) and may ask you for your bank details and other personal information so he or she can “ship” the item. Or the “seller” may send you a fake PayPal form (or other official-looking document) to fill out (with a fake logo). He or she may also offer to send you money… don’t do it! Stop communicating with the person. And if they say they are going to “sue you” for not buying their item, our advice is the same: Silence is best. Report and move on.
Stick with Kijiji
We have all kinds of ways to make your transaction as secure as possible and we encourage you to use them. Firstly, everyone who posts an ad has to register with Kijiji. We also mask the email addresses of almost all buyers and sellers (except job seekers or from businesses), so if you’d like to avoid possible scam texts or calls, consider removing your phone number from your ad. And keep using the masked address – don’t move onto another site if asked.
It is always best to meet in person, in a well-lit public area, so you can inspect the item. Bring a friend or family member, if you like. Then if you would rather not use cash, consider contactless payments or e-transfers offered by your banking institution.
Using Kijiji is an easy and fun way to buy and sell in your local community. So if you come across someone who is complicating the buying or selling process – by asking for your personal details, by not meeting you in person, by trying to lure you into cashing a cheque or sending money or anything else that just doesn’t sound right, it is best to simply stop communication with them.
We hope these general tips that are true for all classifieds sites help you use Kijiji in the most effective way for you! Now, go buy something great or sell and make some extra cash!